25 June 2018

Zimbabwe: Civic Groups Rally Citizens to Vote in Peace

Local civic groups on Saturday called on citizens particularly youths and women to go and vote in peace saying they should exercise their constitutional right as enshrined in Chapter four of the constitution.

Speaking at the launch of the "Get Out and Vote Campaign" in Epworth Saturday, civic groups including the Election Resource Centre (ERC), Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) and Heal Zimbabwe Trust (HZT) encouraged the electorate to exercise their constitutional right enshrined in chapter 4 of Zimbabwe's constitution by going out in large numbers to vote on the 30th of July.

ZimRights Senior Programmes Officer, Leo Chamahwinya said their campaign is mainly targeting youths and women voters as they constitute the majority population.

"Our focus is on the youths and women because they constitute the larger percentage on the voter's roll.

Registered voters had an opportunity to pledge to vote in peace through appending their signatures on the billboard provided by organisers of the Get Out and Vote campaign.

"Chapter four of our constitution is very clear that every citizen has rights to enjoy, so we are encouraging the electorate to fulfil that right fully and in a peaceful manner," he said.

Heal Zimbabwe Trust Director, Rashid Mahiya called on Zimbabweans to vote in peace and shun all forms of violence.

"We want at least 13 million voices for peace in Zimbabwe during elections, we should pledge peace in this election.

"Elections are a time to choose leaders freely and unforced," he said.

People who attended the Epworth roadshow pledged to abide by peace pledge committing to go out and vote in large numbers.

The Get Out and Vote campaign launch was attended by thousands of Epworth residents who pledged to vote in peace

"This year it is looking like people will vote peacefully, things are now different unlike during Robert Mugabe time. By this time, people would have been beaten and intimidated but things have changed," said Confidence Mapere from OverSpill.

"The time is now we are ready now, the election momentum is just big," added another Epworth resident, Caleb Chovava.

Election Resource Centre Director, Tawanda Chimhini said citizens should go beyond voting to protect their vote.

"The campaign is a signal that beyond voting, a citizen will protect whatever will have been expressed through the ballot," he said.

Zimbabwe is due to hold its next harmonized elections on 30 July this year with 23 presidential candidates vying for the country's top job, in what some political analysts have described as maturity of democracy.

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